We decided to research the best banner
advertising network for publishers/affiliates who have a site of our
size. We tried many different networks, but only one stood out - more on
that later. Many promised a great deal, but returned nothing. Some
networks allowed very unethical advertisers to peddle their wares. On
investigating a number of networks, we also discovered a few of them did
not pay in accordance with their terms and conditions - worse still,
some did not pay at all.
The following is a list of desirable affiliate/publisher features that
you should look for before agreeing to "rent" out your prime advertising
space to an agency:
Does the network provide ads that are
relevant to your subject area or that would appeal to the users of your
web site? Irrelevant ads will not only fail if you are participating in
a CPC campaign, but they may annoy your visitors.
CPC, CPM and CPA options
A good ad agency will give you a mixture
of CPC and CPM ads. CPC ads pay when a visitor to your site clicks on a
banner through to an advertisers web site . CPM advertising is based on
$X.XX per thousand views (impressions). Another variation is CPA - a
visitor clicks a banner, passes through to the advertiser's web site and
either purchases (a sale) or expresses interest (a lead) in the
companies products or services. CPA pays the highest but usually has a
much lower conversion ratio.
Control over ads displayed
The better ad networks have comprehensive
publisher/affiliate administrative interfaces where you can preview a
banner and decide whether you want that particular campaign displayed on
your site. This is particularly useful if you (or your visitors) object
to certain kinds of advertising - such as those wonderful flashing ads
that we have all grown to love ;0) - an interesting and amazing fact is
that those flashing ads do draw high clickthrough rates - figure that
one out! If your agency is really on the ball, there will also be visual
flags in your administration area to indicate that the ad contains
references to adult material, gambling or tobacco related products etc.
Default ad control
Most agencies have quotas on the number
of ads appearing to particular users. After that quota is filled for the
hour or day etc., "default" ads will be displayed. These banners do not
earn you any money - but they do tend to display community oriented ads,
so you can also be promoting positive social messages - but be sure to
check this out before signing up. Quality agencies will also give you
control over these default ads allowing you to display your own offers
instead. This gives you further opportunities in making money from this
prime advertising space. If the default banner rate is too high in
proportion to paying banners, and those non-paying banners promote other
businesses, then these networks are well worth avoiding.
The days of the $10.00 CPM ads are pretty
much well over, unless you find advertisers yourself by direct
marketing, but there are still great payment rate differences between
networks. Shop around carefully. You should aim to receive on average
US$.40 - $.65 CPM or at least US$.15 - $.20 CPC.
Another way to benefit financially from
your publisher/affiliate association is to be paid a percentage of any
referrals of new affiliates or advertisers to the network from your web
site. Again, the rates vary greatly between networks, but an ongoing
rate of 5% is a level that can provide you with decent residual income
in the years ahead. With advertising campaigns quite often running into
thousands of dollars, it is possible to draw a good supplementary income
from referring advertisers.
Look for a banner network that pays
promptly. I came across a couple of agencies that paid up to 4 months
after the end of month! A common pay schedule is anything from 15-30
days after the end of month.
Terms and Conditions
Before joining any banner ad network,
ensure you read the terms and conditions carefully. The banner
advertising industry is well known for its share of fraud - perpetrated
by all parties. Some agencies combat this with Draconian rules, which
gives publishers and affiliates very little flexibility - look for an
agency that takes fraud seriously, but still gives you some room to
move. It is also EXTREMELY important to read the terms and conditions
carefully, otherwise you may be breaking the rules without even knowing
it. This usually results in termination of your account and forfeit of
any money that you have made.
Variety of mediums
Many major ad networks now also offer
pop-up and pop-under campaigns as another means of creating income from
your web site. For a more detailed look at the pop-up and pop-under
read our guide.
And the winner is..
So, back to the results - who did we find
to be the best banner ad network? The
FastClick Ad Network. Learn more about why we chose
them as the
top banner agency.
Other revenue generation options
Another way to derive income from your
web site is through affiliate programs that offer text links.
Descriptive text links are not only kinder on bandwidth and load times,
but tend to draw higher click through rates. The other great aspect of
text links is that when implemented correctly, they can also assist with
search engine rankings! Learn more of the benefits and pitfalls of the
text link affiliate game and also some of the
better networks around.
While you may not make a million dollars
through banner ads, they can be a good way to recuperate web site
maintenance costs. If you do make a million bucks as a result of our
recommendations, donations will be gratefully accepted! ;0)
Affiliate marketing - resources
Working with merchants
Successful affiliate marketing
Affiliate marketing survival strategies
Protecting your affiliate commissions
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